Featured Startup Pitch: Social Goodies is putting the daily deals model to work for charities
Founder: Carie Salter
Headquarters: Pasadena, California
Year Founded: 2011
Brief Company Description: National daily deal site funding good deeds with good deals. We give customers a way to change the world and get something in return.
At Social Goodies we offer amazing deals from retailers in the home décor, lifestyle, fashion and beauty arenas at up to 70 percent off and donate 20 percent of the gross purchase price of every deal to charity. We feel our business model delivers tremendous value, as we have created a win-win-win for our customers, featured charities and retailers. Our customers receive great deals on cool merchandise while simultaneously and effortlessly donating 20 percent of their gross deal purchase price to well-vetted charities. Our three featured charities receive concentrated amounts of money from a new donation source, as well as increased exposure about the good work they do.
Finally, our retail partners are not only able to “give back,” but also receive an above-average percentage of the deal purchase price, increased publicity (we even blog about them) and new customers (they own the relationship, as customers use their vouchers to shop directly on the retailers’ websites).
Our retail partners are generally smaller, niche-oriented companies with an incredible amount of originality and creativity. That, coupled with the editorial background of our promotions manager, contributes to the distinct coolness factor of the deals we feature at Social Goodies.
I was inspired to start Social Goodies when performing volunteer consulting work with the Harvard Business School Association of Southern California Community Partners. At the time, it became evident to me that many amazing nonprofits were having a tough time because their endowments were being hit at the same time donors were tightening their belts. I started thinking about how I could use some money I had available to help create a new funding source for charities that could continue for years and years to come (as opposed to just writing a few meaningful checks to certain organizations). At the time, daily deal sites were just beginning to become popular, and I thought the business model was ideally-suited for funding charity—hence, Social Goodies was born!
Right now, our primary goal is to maximize public exposure to socialgoodies.com. We want people to learn about our site and how every time they buy one of our amazing deals they can effortlessly donate 20 percent of the gross purchase price to charity. We’re using a multi-level strategy to raise awareness, including public relations outreach, social media, member newsletters and retailer-focused blogs to get the word out.
How Social Goodies Differentiates Itself from the Competition
There are several things that set us apart from other daily deal sites. First and foremost, we’re in business to fund the good work of great charities and make a difference in the world—not to fill our coffers. As such, transparency and accountability are of the utmost importance. While many businesses pledge to donate a “portion of proceeds” to charity, we contribute 20 percent of the gross purchase price of every deal sold (we even have a dynamic tally on our site). We only feature three carefully-selected charities on our site at any given time because we want to make sure they receive meaningful donations. Further, we form contractual relationships with the charities we feature and provide a full accounting of all the funds we receive on their behalf. We don’t just put a logo on our site and promise to make a donation—we make a commitment. Social Goodies is really a reaction to other charitable giving sites that feature countless charities but don’t provide any sort of transparency or accounting for the funds they raise.
Of course, in order to make a difference, we have to make sales, and we do that by offering our customers incredible national deals—up to 70 percent off—from terrific, socially-conscious retailers. Because our deals are national as opposed to local, and are on products as opposed to services, people can purchase and use these deals from the comfort of their own home no matter where they live.
Since Social Goodies has a national, not regional, focus, our members are able to purchase deals that they can redeem online no matter where they live. It’s similar to the national strategy Groupon rolled out after we were up and running. But at Social Goodies, we’re all about creating a sustainable business model—a win-win-win for our customers, charities and retailers. As mentioned beforehand, our customers get great deals on terrific products while simultaneously giving to charity; our charities get concentrated amounts of money from a new funding source and additional exposure for the good work they do; and our retailers are able to “give back” in addition to getting an above-average portion of the deal sale price, publicity and acquisition of new customers.
Social Goodies has a great core team, and we’re not looking to add to it at this time. We’re self-funded, which gives us a lot of flexibility and allows us to focus on our core mission of raising money for charities. As such, we presently have no plans to raise outside capital. Our objective is to build a self-sustaining operation that can continue to help charities fund their important work for years and years to come.
Social Goodies – www.socialgoodies.com